The jury recommended that DeAngelo Thomas be sentenced to life in prison without parole. They were split down the middle on the question if Thomas should receive the death penalty or if he should receive life imprisonment.Click link for video of Wilmarie Gilbert testifying about her son David Gilbert during the sentencing hearing of the murder trial. Video courtesy of TV 4 in Jacksonville
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It took a Jacksonville jury less than two hours to find DeAngelo Thomas, 30, guilty of first degree murder in the shooting death of Navy Chief Petty Officer David Gilbert. Gilbert was murdered on April 16, 2010.
CPO Gilbert was the son of Jim and Wilmarie Gilbert of Lee. He grew up in Madison County. He graduated from Madison County High School and attended North Florida Community College. A member of the Navy’s engineering corps, called the Seabees, Gilbert did three tours of duty in Iraq. He was the father of three children.
The trial ended on Thursday, Feb. 10, and sentencing was set for Tuesday, Feb. 15. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Thomas.
During the trial, Gilbert’s girlfriend, Stacy Hass, testified that she, Gilbert and Gilbert’s three-year-old daughter, Hannah, returned to Gilbert’s apartment. They discovered Thomas burglarizing the apartment.
Thomas threw Hass against the wall and went towards Gilbert, who was near the door.
Hass testified that she saw Gilbert and Thomas struggling and she ran around the corner and grabbed Hannah. Hass put Hannah into the pantry and told her to hide.
Gilbert’s neighbor, Tiffany McInnis, testified that she heard gunshots and saw Thomas. She identified him as the shooter.
“Oh my god. Oh my god. I think he’s dying. He’s been shot,” Hass said in a 911 call that was played in court.
According to prosecutors, Thomas had been trying to burglarize a drug dealer and had broken into the wrong apartment.
Thomas had reportedly been trying to steal marijuana from the dealer.
The murder occurred two years after Thomas had been released from prison for armed robbery in Baker County. Baker County law officers said that if Thomas had been given a life sentence for being a habitual offender, the Gilbert murder never would have happened.
Edgar Allen, 25, is also awaiting trial on murder charges. Prosecutors say that he arranged for Gilbert’s apartment to be burglarized and that he had been outside waiting in a getaway car.